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Charleroi wins ugly in 19-13 marathon

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 12:31 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Charleroi's third baseman Matt DeMoss (14) loses the ball as he tries to tag out Beth Center's Aaron Ankney (8) in the first inning at Charleroi's Veterans Field on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

There was bad news and good news for Charleroi's baseball team in the Cougars' Section 2 AA home game against Beth-Center at Vets Field Tuesday.

The bad?

Well, the Cougars committed 10 errors and gave up 10 unearned runs against the Bulldogs.

The good?

Well, Charleroi still managed to win the game, beating B-C, 19-13, in a three-hour marathon contest.

The wild win gives the first-place Cougars (3-2, 2-0) a good start on what looks to be a busy week with three more games, including a home game against Washington today.

However, Charleroi coach Luke Mollis knows his team can't afford to play that kind of defensive game and expect to win.

“We just made way too many errors,” Mollis said. “And we had been playing better in the field up until now. We finally started to hit the ball, but we couldn't catch it or throw it today.”

The Cougars did break out of their early season hitting funk, collecting 12 hits as Sam Miceli led the way with two doubles, a single and three RBI.

Matt Freeman, Matt Szerszen and Jake Watkins had two hits each and while Gunnar Riley had just one RBI single, he was also intentionally walked twice, drew another walk and was hit by a pitch as he reached base all five times he batted.

After giving B-C (1-4, 0-2) a 7-4 lead on just one earned run, the Cougars exploded in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Charleroi sent 15 batters to the plate and scored nine runs. Miceli stroked a two-run double and Szerszen added a two-run single in an inning that saw three straight Cougars get hit by pitches.

However, after falling behind 13-7, the Bulldogs battled back for four more runs - all unearned - in the fifth to close within 13-11.

But the Cougars iced the game with five runs in the sixth to turn a 14-11 lead into a 19-11 bulge going into the seventh inning.

In the sixth Watkins had a two-run single and two more runs came home when Jake Laskey executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt that included an error on the throw to first base.

“We have a young team and crazy things will happen,” Mollis said. “It's good that we fought back after falling behind, but this isn't the way I want to see us win games.”

Still, the Cougars are managing to win games this season.

Mollis was pleased with the relief pitching effort of freshman Josiah Fisher, who went 2 23 innings and gave up four unearned runs on just one hit with two strikeouts.

“He did a good job,” Mollis said. “But we didn't give him or any of our pitchers much support in the field.”

Charleroi starting pitcher Matt Freeman pitched into the fourth inning and gave up seven runs (six unearned) on six hits. He struck out six and walked two.

Lane Ziker had three hits for B-C.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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